Reasons Why Cats Love to Paw Around Their Water Fountain


Drinking can cause some cats to engage in strange behavior. For no apparent reason, your cat may paw at its water bowl or play around in it. That’s because cats are picky creatures with a lot of their wild instincts still intact, which explains a lot of this.

It may seem minor, but understanding how your cat behaves around its food bowl is critical. Even the most bizarre behavior can provide insight into your cat’s emotional state.

Why Does Cat Keep Pawing at its Water Bowl?

However bizarre it may seem, there will always be an explanation for why cats paw at their water bowls.

Splashing and pawing at cat waterer are natural behaviors for cats for the reasons listed below.

Whisker Wear and Tear

Whisker fatigue may cause your cat to dip its paw in its water bowl rather than licking the water itself. Because they are more deeply rooted than the rest of the cat’s fur, its whiskers are extremely sensitive for them.

The nerve endings found at the tip of the cat’s whiskers allow it to perform the following actions:

  • They feel the heat.
  • Determine the lengths and widths of things.
  • Vibrations can be felt.
  • Learn about the environment it lives in and how to get around it.

Having whisker fatigue means that the cat’s whiskers are overworked, which causes the cat to become agitated and uneasy. If your feline friend is suffering from whisker fatigue, the last thing they want to do is dip their head in a bowl.

To drink, the cat will dip its paw into the bowl until it is wet, then drink from the wet paw instead their usual way to drink. Make sure to consider upgrading your cat’s bowl as big as possible and fill it to the very top if this happens frequently.


Instead of drinking from the bowl, a cat may prefer to drink from its dripping paw because it feels safer. The fact that cats aren’t fully domesticated contributes to their cautious demeanor.

Consequently, they have a sense of vulnerability when hydrating because they believe that danger can strike at any time. They drink water from their feet rather than bowls to keep themselves upright.

Placing the cat’s bowl against the wall forces it to drink with its back to the entire room, making it feel vulnerable and more likely to engage in this behavior.

It’s possible to calm your cat down by moving the bowl around.

Defining a Boundary

According to Basic and Applied Histochemistry, the pads of a cat’s paws contain eccrine glands, which it uses to mark its scent.

Before or after drinking, a cat will paw around its bowl to indicate that it’s been marked. There are tendencies where male cats mark their territory more aggressively than female cats do.

Thrilling And Rewarding For the Cats

With their natural curiosity, cats are drawn to anything brightly colored or shiny. The cat will paw around the bowl for more information if it is reflective or has a bright, interesting color.

Dirty Water or Bowl

Fresh water is preferred by some cats who are picky about what they drink. If the water in the bowl has been out for a few hours, the cat may think it is dirty enough not to drink from it.

As a cat does with its litterbox, it will also try to bury its water bowl similarly.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This behavior is more common in cats that suffer from OCD.

It has been found that cats can develop OCD as a result of their environment, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Women’s cats are more likely to suffer from OCD than men’s cats. As this may seem alarming, owners should pay attention to any other signs of stress if your cat is a female.

Final Thoughts

There is a reason for your cat’s actions and behavior. Understanding them can help you deal with your cats accordingly. Sometimes it could be a sign of a serious health problem.


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